Triceratops at Centre Céramique

Unique partnership between Centre Céramique (Maastricht Library), Natuurhistorisch Museum Maastricht and Naturalis (Leiden).

From 18 June to 4 August, something special will be on display at Centre Céramique: a real dinosaur skeleton. Natuurhistorisch Museum Maastricht, Maastricht Library and Naturalis Biodiversity Center (Leiden) have all been able to make this possible thanks to a contribution from the VriendenLoterij.

Under the general public’s watchful eye, experts will build a real skeleton of the famous horned dinosaur, Triceratops. The skeleton will be on display in the Centre Céramique main lobby until 4 August. Several activities related to this exhibition will be held at the Natural History Museum (Natuurhistorisch Museum) and the Maastricht Library. Maastricht is one of the five locations across the Netherlands where a Triceratops will be on display. During the annual Goed Geld Gala event held recently at Paleis het Loo, the VriendenLoterij announced that the ‘Triceratops on Tour’ project will receive a contribution of €1.5 million to make the dinosaurs at the library possible. Participating libraries will also be offering a dinosaur programme for visitors of all ages that highlights the benefits of reading and imagination. This programme is still under development.

In 2013, a team from Naturalis found many hundreds of Triceratops bones in the American state of Wyoming. They appeared to originate from at least six different specimens. After more than a decade of work, the fossil remains of these animals will finally be ready for display in Leiden in 2024. The library visits of the five skeletons— one of which will remain at Naturalis—act as a preview of this. The idea is to reach the audience for whom a visit to a museum or to Leiden might be less obvious. ‘Conversely, we naturally also hope that this will entice even more children and their parents to visit our library,” says Centre Céramique/Maastricht Library director Wim Hupperetz. ‘Our exhibit here will draw a connection between the magic of reading and that of dinosaurs and science.’ Visit the Naturalis website here.​​​

Natuurhistorisch Museum Maastricht
Experts from the Natuurhistorisch Museum Maastricht are helping to build the dinosaur skeletons. Libraries—the ‘city’s living rooms’—and nature museums in five regions across the country have found natural partners in each other, explains chief curator Astrid Smeets of the Natuurhistorisch Museum Maastricht. ‘Both libraries and museums are at the heart of society. We share knowledge and reach people of all backgrounds, each in our own way.’

After they have been assembled, the five Triceratops skeletons will all travel back to Naturalis simultaneously where they will be the stars in a new dinosaur exhibit at the museum. Each city will give ‘its’ Triceratops a send-off. A 3D-printed copy of the dinosaur in question will remain in the libraries.

Other participants in this project are: Bibliotheek dbieb/Natuurmuseum Fryslân (Leeuwarden), Library Midden-Brabant (LocHal)/ Natuurmuseum Brabant (Tilburg), Library Zuid-Kennemerland/Teylers (Haarlem) and DOK Delft/ Naturalis Biodiversity Center (Leiden).

Watch the interview from RTV Maastricht 23 May 2023, ‘Visit from a Triceratops in 2024’.